Hardware and IoT startups are becoming mainstream in India with many entrepreneurs actively looking to develop and assemble their products from scratch. VCs are also showing interest and backing innovative hardware startups and entering the space that was previously considered 'high risk'. 3D printing has gained popularity globally because of the diverse applications it offers and is gaining popularity in India as well with both large organisations and hobbyists taking it up.
Fracktal Works, a startup in the 3D printing sector, founded by Vijay Raghav Varada and Rohit Asil announced that they had raised an undisclosed amount of seed funding from 1 Neoteric Technology Solutions which values the startup at USD 3M. The startup was founded while the founders were still in college at Manipal Institute of Technolgy, Manipal. After their incubation period at MUTBI,, they shifted base to Bengaluru to continue developing and manufacturing their own brand of 3D printers 'Julia' and providing customised services to different clients, which include Cisco, Toshiba, L&T etc. Having built many products from scratch they look at themselves as a product development firm, though people know them more for their 3D printers.
The fund raising process started in January this year. Fracktal's marketing and distribution company, headed by Vaibhav Kuvadia, Managing Partner, Stratagem Paramount Consulting, were trying to look for more retailers and distributors and reached out to 1 Neoteric, as they were big in distribution. 1 Neoteric had earlier read about Fracktal Works on YourStory and were impressed with their products. Aarin Capital, who had been associated with Fracktal Works as mentors since their college days, mediated the negotiations with 1 Neoteric. [Update: The article earlier stated that Aarin Capital introduced Fracktal Works to 1 Neoteric]. Vijay said that at that time they were not actively looking to raise funds and were happy assembling products and providing custom services to their clients, generating revenues and investing it back into their startup. Deepak Natraj, MD at Aarin Capital advised them to aim at bigger goals and raise seed funding to focus more on R&D and specialized verticals under 3D printing and engineering services. Vijay said,
As tech guys we were not very sure about how to proceed but got good backing and guidance from Ranjan Pai and Mohandas Pai of the Manipal Group; Aarin Capital were the masterminds who guided us through the entire fund raising process.
They took about 20 days to reach an understanding and then Fracktal Works went through the due diligence process and recently closed their seed round.
The startup currently has 12 full time employees and multiple people working part time on contract. They plan to use this seed funding to expand the team and strengthen their product development capabilities by hiring industrial designers and embedded system programmers. Vijay says,
Karan Chaphekar, the founder of KCbots has been involved with 3D printing since 2009, and got us started with 3D printing. We bought our first 3D printing kit from him. We're happy that he is joining us from next month. The last 1.5 years of bootstrapping have taught us how to utilize funds frugally and we will continue to do so.
Fracktal Works has been incubated at Libre Wireless's facility in Diamond District for the last 8 months and received mentoring from Hariharan Bhojan , Libre's VP. Fracktal will use majority of their funds for future developments and R&D. They aim to focus on more niche verticals under 3D printing such as jewellery,dental and biomedical devices. Their other plans include getting more certifications, increasing their reach to more markets , outsourcing manufacturing and attending international expos.
Vijay added that Fracktal Works considers this more as a strategic investment rather than for the funds. They aim to utilize 1 Neoteric's experience and expertise in market hardware research to help them focus on the right markets and work on the finer details about their upcoming niche products.
Website: Fracktal Works
While MakerBot, Stratasys, Fabbster, 3D Systems, Leapfrog, Flashforge and Optomec are well known on the global scale some interesting startups and companies in this sector in India are Altem Technologies, Imaginarium, Brahma 3, JGroup Robotics, Global 3D Labs and design marketplace,REALiz3D and df3d.